Thursday, September 24, 2015


Take responsibility for the actions you can control.  When I had a day job before I retired into writing, I sought responsible employees who would take charge of their area and make things happen.  When a problem occurs, valued people step in to find a solution.  This contrasts to the person who says, “This isn’t mine, it’s someone else’s.”  A responsible person will say, “This isn’t my area, but I’ll help you get to the right person.”

I believe we are all responsible for making the world a better place in our sphere of influence.  This contrasts with the view that when a problem occurs some people react by saying, “This is God’s will.”  If they don’t act, they are abdicating responsibility.  Sure bad things happen, but that isn’t a reason to throw up our hands and give up.

Take responsibility for what you can influence and change.  Then you can leave the rest to God’s will.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Respond Versus React

When faced with the need to take action we can deal with it one of two ways:  First, we can react.  This is the knee-jerk, after the fact, go fix it because we let it get broken.  When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, there were all kinds of reactions, but not a planned response.

Second, response is dealing with the situation in a planned, creative way.  People anticipate and are prepared so that when action is required, resources are mobilized and ready.  An emergency can then be treated as an expected event, not a surprise.  A trained medical response team, responds rather than reacts.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Consciousness and Awareness

We can choose a goal of consciousness--being aware of the present rather than losing ourselves in the past, future or worse, just being asleep.  This means waking up to what is going on around us and not sleeping on our feet.

How often do we really notice things around us?  I always find it interesting that when I buy a new car, I suddenly notice the same brand everywhere.  When my wife was pregnant, I was amazed at all the pregnant women I saw.  But other times I don’t make the connection.  It takes that extra, motivated awareness to recognize common occurrences around us.

After a hard day of writing, I feel the pull to plop down in front of the television set and veg out.  Drugs and alcohol provide an escape for some people.  But being aware and conscious of the present is the better path.  Taking a walk in a park or along the beach helps me focus on the present by being conscious of my surroundings and aware of all around me.

But being immersed in problems poses a more difficult situation.  Part of me wants to escape, get out of there, go take a walk again, when what is being asked of me is to be conscious and aware of the situation and deal with it.

I’ve learned over the years to hang in there to get things resolved as much as I can in my sphere of influence.  I try to act on things I have control over.  If I can’t impact the situation, then I need to detach from the outcome.  But this isn’t easy.  Mentally I know this may be the needed attitude, but still I get frustrated and want to force the results I want.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Conflicting Rights

Most disagreements center around conflicting rights.  My right to play the drums versus your right for peace and quiet.  The right to smoke versus the right for a smoke-free environment.  The right to view pornography versus the right to protect our children.  The right to take your dog for a walk versus the right to have a clean poop-free trail.  The right to have a freeway built versus the right to keep a house that is in the planned path.  The right of a woman to chose abortion versus the right to protect the fetus.  The right to protect a news source versus the right to track down a criminal. 

In Hawaii, beach areas are all public property and home owners’ property lines are delineated by where the vegetation grows.  Consequently, some home owners have been growing vegetation over the sand to expand their property line and keep the public away.  The home owners want their privacy, and the beach-goers want access.

These conflicts get down to my right versus your right or the right I believe I should have versus the right you believe you should have.

So much of tension in society is the result of conflicting rights.  The rights of the Israelis versus the rights of the Palestinians to occupy certain territory; the right to protect religious expression versus the right to enforce religious beliefs.

These are the problems that are difficult to settle.  Over years people become ensconced in their positions and beliefs.  Then it becomes a personal conflict, a vendetta, my way of life versus yours.

With no easy solution the conflict escalates.

Much centers around possessions.  People want to own land which leads to my property rights versus yours.  But ultimately we are custodians not owners of land.  It was already here.

It’s only if we can take a wider view that issues of conflicting rights can be solved.  Moving beyond my right versus your right to our rights, requires finding a solutions that embraces the broader interest of both parties.  It’s a shame that so often there has to be an external enemy to get people to come together.  Maybe some day we can learn that the real external enemy is our inability to see ourselves as one.